10 Questions with ... Rick Peters
September 6, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started as an AOR jock in Miami/Fort Lauderdale in the '70s. Moved on to programming in Miami and Boston, then a couple of entrepreneurial VP/Programming gigs in the '80s and '90s, my own Programming Consultancy for 10 years, CEO of Southern Star (Capstar division) in the late-'90s. Bought the Montgomery cluster in 2004 and been here ever since.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Always was a "techie" was first into audio production and recording. That segued into being in front of a mic on the air. Got into radio in between high school and college and basically never stopped.
2. What part of the job do you like best? Least?
The best part of the job is having the freedom to experiment and create unique formats and products that strike a cord with the audience. The least favorite thing is the having to deal with the financial side of the business. Bankers have no "vision" past a spreadsheet.
3. What were the ratings highlights for the station in the Spring "11 book?
#3 25-54 Men, #4, 35-54 Men, and #5 Adults 25-54 (all non-ethnic).
4. What has been the stations biggest accomplishment since flipping to Alternative one year ago?
Beating 5-100kw and 2-50kw FM radio stations with a 250 watt translator on the top of a hospital. The Gump is a true David and Goliath story. It's an example of the power of filling an "unmet need" in an audience. There never had been an "alternative rock" station in the market -- ever.
5. How would you describe the music and imaging on The Gump?
It ain't your Daddy's Rock station. Thank God. The music is almost pure Alternative Rock with some compatible Mainstream Currents added in for flavor. I have the latitude to take some chances with songs. There has never been an "alternative" to the Mainstream/Classic Rock station in this town. We are being given a LOT of latitude from the listeners to create a station that is sonically different from The Fox. The imaging can best be described as "snarky."
6. What makes the station unique?
Starting with the name -- GUMP is slang for Montgomery -- almost everything on The Gump is unique in this market. 75% of the music is found nowhere else. It has the largest current playlist of any station in the market including the CHR. There are no jocks (as voted by the audience). A "kid" is doing the imaging. Greg Rickaby is the "kid". He's our Chief Technology officer and actually 30. What's not unique?
7. Since the station is jockless, how do you stay connected with listeners?
Through the website, but more importantly Facebook and Twitter. Three of us - myself, Greg, and CJ Engle (Station Voice/Promotion Director) -- conduct a continuing active, and sometimes, obnoxious dialog with the partisans using social media.
8. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______?
Costa Rican rum.
9. What is the most challenging part of your job?
Being able to focus. It's a function of wearing too many hats. It's an issue in a small market -- well maybe all radio -- these days.
10. What would surprise people the most about you?
That I'm the CEO/Managing Partner of the stations and still program. Programming will always be my first love in radio. I think I'd sell 'em if I couldn't program 'em.
What are your hobbies?
I like to burn hydrocarbons -- Harleys, airplanes, boats, classic and exotic cars.
Last non-industry job?
Started a telcom company...lost my shirt...could' been Magic Jack. I can't do anything but radio.